Earlier today at Electronic Arts' annual summertime press event, we managed to get hands-on time with the latest playable PS2 and Xbox builds of FIFA Soccer 2005. GameCube and PC versions weren't available, but they should end up offering similar features. Currently being developed by the same team responsible for FIFA Soccer 2004 (which the recent UEFA Euro 2004 was not), the game has come an awfully long way since we played it at E3.
First touch control is achieved by tapping the right analog stick in the direction you wish to move the ball as it arrives. We had a chance to try out the new technique and found it to be both effective and intuitive. Not only do the new first touch animations look great but also they certainly go a long way toward ensuring that FIFA Soccer 2005 is the most realistic game in the series to date. Largely as a result of the first touch control, the entire match really seemed to move at a quicker pace. When we were relegated to the bench and had to watch other people playing, it has to be said that the experience wasn't unlike watching a regular match on TV.
After the on-the-field improvements, the career mode in FIFA Soccer 2005 looks to be the feature that's getting the most attention as far as improvements are concerned. This year's game will retain the "Football Fusion" functionality introduced last year, which allowed players to play with and manage the same team in both FIFA Soccer 2004 and Total Club Manager 2004, but it will also boast a quite in-depth career option in which you'll be responsible for hiring and maintaining your team's managerial and coaching staff as well as the squad itself. We weren't able to get into the career mode at today's event, unfortunately, but we look forward to bringing you more information on the game in the not-too-distant future.